I want to wait on the Lord!
I want to be faithful!
I want to hear His voice and trust His hand!
I want to “not fear anything that is frightening.” (I Peter 3:6)
Sometimes the Lord allows circumstances into our lives that are uncomfortable at best, painful at worst. But they are not without purpose – even when we can’t see that purpose.
Being set upon an anvil, the heat is increased, and the re-shaping is painful, but it is good.
Growing physically can have discomfort, but it is good.
There is goodness in God allowing hard places into our lives regardless of the discomfort in various ways. Naturally, we don’t like it, but I don’t want to miss the moment; I don’t want to miss what He wants me to learn and how He wants me to grow.
We can trust the One who is Creator and Sustainer because, as CS Lewis so poignantly said of Aslan, a beautiful picture of Christ in his book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “He is not safe, but He is good!”
Yes, we are safe in His arms, but He is still the Almighty King of all even as He has mercy on His children; He reigns as Judge but remains our Father for those who have put their faith in Him.
We can be carried by Him, but we must never mistake that familiarity and that tenderness for a casual relationship. Were we to be in His presence, we would fall to our knees in the face of His glory!
And THAT is good!
We live in a time of history when our “plans” have been and are being, as the proverbial apple cart, “completely upset,” totally upended.
We find the news of each new day a little more unsettling regardless of our response to it.
And the ground beneath doesn’t just feel shaky, it is.
But, therein lies the importance of knowing the certainty of your foundation.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…’Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ (Psalm 46:1-3, 10)
If my confidence is built on my health…
If my security is based on what I own…
If my joy is dependent on my circumstances…
If my hope is built on my abilities and/or my job…
If my steadfastness is built on my plans…
I will eventually be moved; I will be shaken!
But, if “…my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him…” then “Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken…” (Psalm 62:5-6)
When what I see is unclear, when what I desire is either hindered, set back, or is no more, when the circumstances around me are unsure…I must choose to stand on what I know more than on what I feel.
I must choose faith in the God who doesn’t change.
I must choose trust in the One who has the ability to say to the seas, “This far and no farther!”
I must choose joy that comes from a knowledge of and settling in the truth of God’s Word and His character, His ability to settle any frustration or fear.
I must choose to say, ”The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights…” (Habakkuk 3:19)
I must choose to cling to the fact that life in this fallen world will not always “feel” good; in fact, it may feel quite the opposite. But God is in the midst of doing things in us and in our world we cannot see.
He is getting the world’s attention and our own. The world is unsettled, but He stands secure.
Will I rail against what He is trying to do in and through me? Or will I say, “Not my will but yours, Lord – use me!” and then respond to His answers.
Will I grow angry with the response whether I think it is too much or too little? Or will I be faithful in the little things, courageous and bold to speak life to those I encounter, “giving reason for the hope (in Christ) that I have…with gentleness” (I Peter 3:15) that is not dependent on my ease and my comfort, pointing them to the life-giving Gospel that sets eternity in motion both now and forever!
Will I give that word of comfort and a smile of hope to those I encounter whose very faces are etched with fear?
Will I humble myself before the Lord, asking Him to cleanse me, His child, of all unrighteousness, to show me my sin, and to ask Him to change me so that, as I seek His face, He might heal our land?
Will I pray not only for an end to difficult situations and how they affect me, but pray even more fervently for the Lord to bring glory to Himself, that He be exalted in all the earth?
Will I ask Him to soften hard hearts and give sight to blind eyes, even those long settled in a false sense of protection who are still trying to earn their way to Him, that they might see their need of the Savior and be redeemed by His work for us?
Will I, hand in hand, “serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling?” (Psalm 2:11)
And when I am too weary or saddened to choose well, will I call out to my Abba Father, my Jehovah Shalom, “Carry me! Be my peace! Give me the faith to trust when I can’t see, the strength to reset my stand!”
The world is in an odd place right now, one we have never known; everything we have counted on and set our security upon is being tossed. But our God is not caught unaware; our God is not shaken.
None of us are exempt from some measure of the “uncomfortable” in all of this. But the Lord has called us to “carry one another’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2), to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
The Lord never calls us to walk alone even when we have to “self-isolate.” He is “near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18) and He has given us “one another” whether it be in close proximity or through the gift of technology. Let me walk this road with you; let me carry your burdens even if it is just for you to share the fears you have. I would count it a privilege to pray for you, to take you to our Father’s throne of grace, as you share your concerns with me.
My hope IS built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, and so I can choose to “set my eyes on things above not on things below.” (Colossians 3:2)
And, as I do that in the power of the Holy Spirit who is able to supernaturally create that response in me, I will increase my trust and faith in the Lord and decrease my draw towards growing angry with or fearful of circumstances.
When I feel my heart start to tremble, I will ask the Lord to teach me to “be still and KNOW that He is God” and let His Spirit set my soul at rest.
Long ago, when we were facing some significant decisions, my husband and I were having a conversation about it in the car, our small children were in the backseat. Obviously, I was expressing some concerns and it was evident. Softly at first, then growing a little more intense, the clear little voice of my then three-year old daughter came from the back seat singing:
“I cast all my cares upon You;
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.
And, any time, I don’t know what to do,
I will cast all my cares upon You.”
Out of the mouth of babes, God reset my heart to trust Him for what I couldn’t see! He gave me a supernatural peace unexplainable in human terms.
I ask Him to do that again for me, for my family, for you in this moment and the next!
As we are in Christ, we can be assured; we can “set our hope fully on the grace to be given us at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” (I Peter 1:13) and we can rest, truly rest!
In His Joy and Peace,